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Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is making a final attempt this week to lessen the impact of a new program that calls for all the nation’s children to be screened for mental-health problems, offering language to the federal omnibus spending bill that would require parental consent before such testing could be done.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in September Paul attempted to have the program removed from Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Act. His amendment failed the House of Representatives by a vote of 95-315.
This week, Paul offered the following language to the omnibus bill:
“None of the funds made available for State Incentive Grants for Transformation should be used for any programs of mandatory or universal mental-health screening that performs mental-health screening on anyone under 18 years of age without the express, written permission of the parents or legal guardians of each individual involved.”
The program in question was proposed by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which President Bush established in 2002. The New Freedom Initiative recommends screening not only for children but eventually for every American.
Critics of the plan say it is a thinly veiled attempt by drug companies to provide a wider market for high-priced antidepressants and antipsychotic medication, and puts government in areas of Americans’ lives where it does not belong.
The congressman, who is known for his strict adherence to the Constitution, wrote in a letter to his colleagues before the September vote: “As you know, psychotropic drugs are increasingly prescribed for children who show nothing more than children’s typical rambunctious behavior. Many children have suffered harmful effects from these drugs. Yet some parents have even been charged with child abuse for refusing to drug their children. The federal government should not promote national mental-health screening programs that will force the use of these psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin.”
The New Freedom Commission found that “despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed” and recommended comprehensive mental-health screening for “consumers of all ages,” including preschool children.
Kent Snyder of the Paul-founded Liberty Committee explained in an e-mail alert to supporters that “key members of the House leadership attempted to add Dr. Paul’s language to the omnibus spending bill, but some members of the Senate objected.
“So now the question of whether your kids can be subjected to forced psychological testing – and perhaps even forced drugging – rests in the hands of the U.S. Senate.”
Snyder says the omnibus spending bill likely will be finalized tomorrow morning, and he encourages people to contact their U.S. senators to express support for the Paul language.
“Just as we convinced the House leadership to support the Paul language, we must now go to work to convince the Senate,” said Snyder.